Invest NI helps dairy companies find new export markets

Three milk processors will be searching for new market opportunities on an Invest Northern Ireland trade mission to Dubai, Oman and Qatar.

Taking part in the mission, from 18-26 November, is Dale Farm, Northern Ireland’s biggest dairy processing business, as well as Glanbia and Greenfields Ireland.

Dale Farm will be marketing a range of dairy products including milk powder, Glanbia specialises in mozzarella cheese and Greenfields is one of Europe’s leading brokers of dairy products.

Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade Director, commenting on the mission to the Arabian Gulf states, said: “The dairy sector is going through a particularly difficult phase at the moment. Milk prices have slumped and demand for powder especially has fallen sharply.  

“The sector is one of our most important and we are keen to help it explore export opportunities that will enable companies to keep operating until demand recovers.

“Our missions and exhibitions are geared to help companies search out new markets including the Arabian Gulf, still a dynamic marketplace and one with a sizeable section of the population from the UK and Ireland which is keen on quality dairy products.”

Dale Farm and Greenfields will also be taking part in the Invest NI trade mission to China at the end of November.  Both companies attended the SIAL food exhibition in Paris last month. The SIAL group also included other dairy companies such as Golden Cow Dairies, Portadown; Pritchitt Foods, Newtownards; and TMC Dairies, Strabane.

In addition, dairy businesses are likely to be taking part at the big Gulfood Showcase, on an Invest NI stand, in Dubai in February 2009. Invest NI will also be showing a range of local food and drink products at the OOH Live - Out of Home exhibition - at Earl’s Court, London on 9-10 November and again at the BBC Good Food Exhibition in Birmingham from 26-30 November.

Gulfood is the region's largest and most important industry events of the year and a strategic platform for buyers and sellers to conduct direct business face to face. The exhibition is a showcase for manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers from around the world, representing all of the key sectors within the food and hospitality trade.

The 2008 event saw 2,965 companies from 72 countries, with the new Restaurant and Café Middle East showcasing the latest offerings to over 39,000 trade visitors, 86 per cent of which were international participants.

The event also featured new government supported groups from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador, Hungary, Malawi, Poland, Switzerland and Uruguay, representing 70 national pavilions in total.

Commenting on the Gulfood event, Alan Hingston said “This immensely important event provides an opportunity to Northern Ireland processing companies to reach a substantial marketplace.”